“The user experience (UX) is an iterative , continuous approach during which you have to analyse, design and evaluate whilst constantly focusing on the user explains Thierry Raguin, a mobility and design UX expert for Econocom, during TechDays 2015. The aim is to provide more intuitive, attractive, accessible, credible services and tools. The concept has now found its way into the digital, marketing and innovation departments of major groups. Should UX design be the focus of all digital projects? How can this sort of approach be incorporated into a company’s process? We found out from Juliette Bron.
Juliette Bron has been Digital Director of insurance group Macif since June 2015. Before that she was International Head of Digital and Customer Experience for Generali and Innovation Manager for Generali France. She’s also worked for PSA Peugeot Citroën Group.
USING UX AND lean startup APPROACHES TO PROGRESS WITH digital
What’s your role with Macif Group?
I’m in charge of digital, and also have an important role in Macif Group’s development: signing new customers via our website and mobile app, optimising internal processes and customer relations by developing e-support.
It’s a cross-functional role that involves working with all the Group’s departments, particularly Distribution, to deploy an omnichannel rationale, i.e. letting the client choose which channel they want to use to interact with Macif. For example, they can ask for a quote online, then finalise it over the telephone or at one of our branches, and vice versa. This approach enables us to give our policyholders day-to-day support.
Where does UX design fit into this?
It’s vital. When I joined Macif a year ago, my first assignment was to draw up Macif Group’s digital strategy by 2020. At the same time, I had to deal with operational questions: how to bring together the necessary skills, how to organise the team so that it’s as effective as possible, etc.
“It’s easy to put together a few slides to present a strategy and an ambition. The challenge is implementing the operational components to realise this vision.”
To be more effective in digital, certain jobs are essential: SEO expert, Traffic Manager, Product Owner, Project Manager, Developer – and of course, UX Designer. Once you’ve assembled these talents, you have to get them to work together efficiently. To do this we use lean_startup methods, which involves centring decisions on the user, from design to launch. This is where the concept of UX really comes into its own because it’s about focusing on the user.
“UX PLAYS A pivotAL ROLE IN MACIF GROUP’S digital DEPARTMENT”
Macif Group has always made its policyholders its main concern. For example, in the 1960s, it was the first insurance company in France to introduce joint accident reports. Ten years later, the Group set up Fonsomacif, a solidarity fund to help policyholders experiencing serious financial difficulties after a disaster that’s not covered by their insurance. Over the years, Fonsomacif has turned into an observatory and has enabled us to improve the guarantees in Macif contracts.
UX now plays a pivotal role in Macif group’s digital department. When we’re at the design phase of a new functionality, the UX design can help define a new experience and offer the client a maximum of added value.
UX can also be used to try out concepts at each stage of their development. At Macif, we have a pool of clients and prospects which we regularly use to test scenarios and get their input on interfaces or customer experiences. We also ask our policyholders’ representatives: it’s particularly important for Macif to have their point of view. The Group also uses these tests to prioritise its roadmaps.
Macif Group’s website is currently being overhauled. It’s a long-term project that will be finalised by the end of the year and has been completely driven, from beginning to end, by this UX design approach, combined with an agile methodology to ensure greater responsiveness.
UX designer: THE indispensable ALLY FOR THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
So you work with UX designers?
The Digital Department consists of one full-time UX Designer who is heavily involved in redesigning our website and app.
“Implementing a transformation approach and applying rationales that are in line with digital requires using a UX Designer.”
You also need to implement an organisation that makes it easier to work with all the other departments. The UX Designer should be able to get the whole company to use new ways of working which are very different from traditional approaches.
For example, typically, when companies are looking to send out a form, they create the fields and that’s it. With a UX approach, you start by asking what will bring the most value to the user. To do that, you ask a panel of users to find out how best to deliver the service, in terms of the ergonomics or functionalities. By including the users at each stage of development you can think up and implement effective scenarios.
Can there be customer relations without UX design?
As Digital Director, I believe UX design is absolutely essential to customer relations in the broadest sense and in digital in particular. When we work on digital matters, if we want to designer a real experience, we need to use UX in a collaborative rationale, working with all the stakeholders of digital projects.
Lastly, UX helps improve the customer experience: in the insurance world, that includes all the employees and in particular, the insurance agents.
“You have to incorporate UX across the whole company. It’s a big mistake just focusing on the client because that creates a digital divide between the users’ experience and that of the employees in the company.”
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